Established in 1988, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance is one of the world’s leading dance companies. We work across the United Kingdom and internationally to produce and tour dance works by our artistic director and choreographer, Shobana Jeyasingh. Each year, we engage up to 30,000 people through performances and a range of education projects.
About Shobana Jeyasingh Dance
Shobana Jeyasingh is acclaimed for her pioneering work in choreography hallmarked by excellence and high quality. She is one of the few woman leaders in the field of dance and choreography.
The company is rooted in a vision of societies that are culturally coherent in new and unexpected ways. Avoiding cliché and stereotype, we produce work that directly resonates with all our day-to-day experiences of many cultures living side-by-side in contemporary cities. We aim to persuade new audiences to enjoy, delight in and be challenged by the best in contemporary dance. Our work is powerful, precise, dynamic, sophisticated and accessible.
We remain at the forefront of the fascinating and complex debates around cultural cohesion that define urban life in the twenty-first century. We see connections where others see only differences and we seek to reinforce these connections through all our work, through the imaginative choice of collaborators and through the use of a wide range of platforms and media for the dissemination of our work.
Adventurous and experimental, Shobana has pioneered collaborations with some of the most exciting musicians and artists of our times. The company has commissioned many new pieces of music, now heard round the world. These include Michael Nyman’s String Quartet No. 2 (Configurations), as well as work with contemporary favourite Kevin Volans.
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance has extensive experience of leading imaginative and innovative learning and participation work both in schools and in the wider community. We run projects that empower women, inspire girls, encourage young people to engage in intelligent physical activity and support study at all levels. We offer apprentice placements for dance students and nurture tomorrow’s leading dancers and choreographers.
In 2012, 2013 and 2015, we were nominated Best Independent Company by the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. In 2014 we received the Award for Excellence in International Dance from the International Institute of Dance and Theatre.
You can read dance critic, Sanjoy Roy’s potted introduction to Shobana Jeyasingh’s choreography and work here.
Internationally-recognised choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh has been creating dynamic, fearless and enigmatic dance works for over 27 years.
Artistic Director and Choreographer
Born in Chennai, India and with roots in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Shobana Jeyasingh lives and works in London. She has been creating dance works for 27 years. Her highly individual work has been seen in a variety of venues including theatres, outdoor and indoor sites and on film. It is work that is rooted in a vision of society that can be culturally coherent in new and unexpected ways and in a firm belief in the intellectual as well as the physical power of dance.
Especially commissioned music has been a significant feature of her work and has led to new scores from an array of contemporary composers ranging from Michael Nyman to beat boxer Shlomo. Her creative collaborators over the years have been drawn across a variety of media such as filmmakers, mathematicians, digital designers, writers, animators as well as award winning lighting and set designers.
Her critically acclaimed and pioneering dance works include [h]Interland which broke boundaries in 2002 as the first dance performance to be webcast live between the UK and India. Shobana’s work has been widely toured to festivals and venues in Europe, USA, India, Singapore, China, South Korea and Hong Kong. Commissions include works for Rambert, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Ballet Black, Beijing Dance Academy and City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong.
Her creations for unusual and outdoor settings include Pop Idle, an instant dance for non-dancers to be performed inside photo booths commissioned by Ricochet Dance, 2Step on the steps St Paul’s Cathedral for the City of London Festival, and Counterpoint, a work for 20 dancers and 55 fountains commissioned by English National Ballet and Somerset House, London. TooMortal, a work designed to be performed within the pews of historic churches was premiered at the Venice Biennale 2012 and toured in the UK and internationally. In 2013 King’s Cultural Institute appointed Shobana Jeyasingh Dance as one of three Knowledge Producers. Translocations included a series of 6 films exploring the impact of dance on six academics and a collaboration with the Centre for Robotic Research at King’s College exploring the interaction between humans and robotic systems.
Shobana Jeyasingh has made a significant contribution to dance in the UK and abroad through her published writings, papers, panel presentations and broadcast interviews.
Community and learning and participation work is an important and natural extension of the vision of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance. Shobana has run numerous choreographic residencies, mentoring programmes and a workshop with hip hop dancers at Sadler’s Wells theatre. To tap the creative potential of each individual and share with him or her the uniquely empowering quality of designed movement has led the company to work in partnership with a wide range of organisations. These include Hestia Housing and Support, the mental health charity Mind and East London Dance as well as numerous UK schools and colleges. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance has a long and special association with The Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, a flagship for the company’s Empowering Women, Inspiring Girls programme.
Shobana Jeyasingh’s achievements as a choreographer and her company’s contribution to dance and dance education has been recognised by an honorary doctorate from University of Chichester, an honorary MA from Surrey University and an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University Leicester. She has won the Time Out award for best choreography twice and received the 2014 Award for Excellence in International Dance from the International Institute of Dance and Theatre. Shobana is a Research Associate at ResCen, the Centre for Research in Creation in the Performing Arts at Middlesex University.
Awards and Achievements
Major Awards, Achievements and Selected Commissions
- Outlander, commissioned by The Istituto Interculturale di Studi Musicali Comparati at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini Venice and a special event for the Venice Biennale Danza 2016. A site specific work created specifically for the Palladian Refectory at the San Giorgio monastery
- Shobana Jeyasingh Dance nominated Best Independent Company in the National Dance Awards
- Shobana awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Chichester
- Material Men, commissioned by Southbank Centre, premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall
- Shobana announced as a named practitioner in the AQA specifications for study at AS and A-level Dance from September 2016
- Bayadère – The Ninth Life, commissioned by The Royal Ballet Studio Programme and inspired by the ballet La Bayadère, premiered at the Royal Opera House
- Shobana received the 2014 Award for Excellence in International Dance from the International Institute of Dance and Theatre
- Company celebrated its 25th anniversary with a commission, Strange Blooms, for London’s Southbank Centre
- For a second year running, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance nominated Best Independent Company in Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards
- The Cultural Institute at King’s College London appoints the company as Knowledge Producer
- Company awarded a major 25th anniversary three-year grant by the Oak Foundation
- TooMortal, a site-specific work for historic churches, premieres at Venice Biennale and presented by Dance Umbrella as part of the Olympic’s London 2012 Festival
- Company nominated Best Independent Company in Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards
- Company tour India for the first time in its 22-year history
- Counterpoint commissioned by London’s Somerset House and English National Ballet, performed by 20 dancers in the historic fountain courtyard and broadcast on TV by Sky Arts
- Faultline added to UK GCSE dance syllabus
- Shobana named Asian Women of Achievement Awards for her contribution to arts in the UK
- Shobana awarded a NESTA Dream Time Fellowship to visit China and Japan
- Dance Umbrella commissions [h]Interland, the first live dance webcast between UK and India
- Palimpsest nominated for South Bank Show Award
- Time Out Best Choreography Award for Palimpsest
- Shobana Jeyasingh was awarded an MBE for services to dance, an honorary MA from Surrey University and an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University, Leicester
- Arts Council Women in the Arts Award and The Prudential Award for Dance together with the £100,000 Prudential Premier Award for the Arts
- Time Out Best Choreography Award for Making of Maps
- Digital Dance Award for Speaking of Sakti, choreographed by Chandralekha to music by W Subrahmanyam
- Digital Dance Award for Miniatures (a precursor to Configurations), choreographed by Shobana Jeyasingh to music by Michael Nyman
Deborah Bull CBE
Deborah Bull joined The Royal Ballet in 1981, rising through the ranks to become principal in 1992 and dancing roles across the repertoire, from traditional classics to contemporary new work. She was nominated for an Olivier Award for her performances in William Forsythe’s Steptext.
In 2002, she joined the executive team of the Royal Opera House to develop a programme of work focusing on new artists, new audiences and new art and, in 2008, became Creative Director of the Royal Opera House. In 2012, she joined King’s College, London as Executive Director of King’s Cultural Institute to provide leadership and direction to their cultural partnerships.
Her work for BBC television includes the award winning The Dancer’s Body and Travels with my Tutu and, for BBC radio, programmes covering topics as diverse as the dance, law and ageing. She writes for several newspapers and magazines and is the author of The Vitality Plan (1998), Dancing Away (1998), The Faber Pocket Guide to Ballet (2005, with Luke Jennings) and The Everyday Dancer (2011). She has served on Arts Council England, as a Governor of the BBC, and as a judge for the 2010 Booker Prize. She was awarded a CBE in 1999.
“Shobana remains for me one of the most creative and exciting choreographers in Britain and in the world today. From the first time I saw her work, I have been fascinated by the way she deploys her classical training with such contemporary vigour, style and visceral energy.”
Deborah Bull CBE
Jude Kelly OBE
Jude Kelly is the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, Britain’s largest cultural institution. She founded Solent People’s Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, and was the Artistic Director of the York Festival and Mystery Plays.
She later became the founding director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse. In 1997, she was awarded the OBE for her services to the theatre. She has directed over 100 productions including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, the English National Opera, the Châtalet in Paris and in the West End.
Jude left the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002 to found Metal, which through its artistic laboratory spaces provides a platform where artistic hunches can be pursued in community contexts. It has creative bases in Liverpool and Southend-On-Sea.
Jude is chair of Metal, member of the London Cultural Strategy Group, and is Visiting Professor at Kingston and Leeds Universities and the Shanghai Centre for the Performing Arts. She is a member of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board.
I’ve always found her to be a great thinker and intellect, a choreographic force and even, in some ways, a subversive. She has always been interested in overturning conventions and making change happen. She has always resisted categorisation, be that as a woman choreographer, an Indian choreographer or as a choreographer at all.”
Jude Kelly OBE